How does the University of New Mexico Eliminate a Great Soccer Program? Budget Issues.
The DI ranked University of New Mexico has decided to eliminate their men’s soccer program after the 2018 season, leaving student-athletes in the lurch on short notice. The reduction of sports and roster modifications will save a reported estimated $1.148 million annually.
The University of New Mexico Board of Regents overwhelmingly approved with a whopping 6-0 vote to eliminate men’s soccer as well as three other sports due to budget cuts.
At a time when soccer has reached a high in popularity in the USA — how can universities cut their programs?
The University of New Mexico’s (UNM) long time Men’s soccer coach Jeremy Fishbein fought this every step of the way.
The prestigious UNM Men’s soccer program, along with the men’s/women’s skiing and women’s beach volleyball are all cut citing budget cuts and Title IX requirements.
How does Title IX — which Congress passed in 1972 prohibiting the discrimination against girls and women in federally funded education programs — have anything to do with budget issues in 2018?
The explanation from Glen Rosales The Associated Press on Review Journal: “As for the Title IX requirements, a report issued in May by an independent firm showed that there were 317 men participating in sports [at University of New Mexico] compared with 247 women, resulting in inequity when considering the percentage of men and women who make up the university’s overall enrollment of full-time undergraduates.”
“The disparity is greater when viewed in terms of athletic scholarships. Men received $4.74 million in aid, or 62.6 percent, compared with $2.83 million, or 37.4 percent, for women.”
The University of New Mexico kicked off its men’s soccer program in 1983 and is clearly one of the country’s top-ranked programs. The Division I school, which plays in the Conference USA, ranked #67th last season with Wake Forest taking the #1 spot.
The 2018 season will be its last.
University New Mexico – Statement on AP:
University President Garnett S. Stokes and Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez announced their recommendations earlier to cut men’s soccer along with the skiing and beach volleyball programs.
Stokes opening remarks at the public hearing yesterday explained her position.
“I know there is nothing I can say to you that makes this situation any better. Please do know this: our recommendation has been made with great deliberation and with the sincere belief our very painful choices are what is needed for the long-term future success of athletics,” said Stokes.F
17-year Head coach Jeremy Fishbein spoke at the hearing as well, along with several of his players who all made passionate please to save their program.
According to UNM, Fishbein is the program’s all-time winningest coach and has built New Mexico into a perennial power in college soccer.
During his tenure, UNM has made 11 NCAA Tournament appearances. Those appearances include five trips to the NCAA Sweet 16 and a pair of NCAA College Cup appearances in 2005 and 2013. The 2005 Lobos advanced to the national championship match.
“Lobo men’s soccer is too important to our state!”
United Soccer Coaches released this statement on New Mexico Men’s Soccer earlier today:
The outcome was not what any of us wanted, but we, as a community of coaches will continue to support New Mexico men’s soccer. There were many complex issues that went into this decision and it was a difficult conclusion to come to, but it’s apparent that spending in college athletics has gotten to the point that it is becoming a detriment to the opportunities of student-athletes in sports other than football and basketball. The value that these student-athletes bring to their school and their communities needs to carry a greater weight instead of taking the easy route of cutting programs.
As the USA looks towards a brighter future in soccer and hopes of competing on the world stage, it is a time to rally around the world’s most beautiful sport and not cut university programs. As the excitement on winning the United 2026 to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup in the United States, Canada, and Mexico grows, we need to support collegiate soccer — and forms of soccer in the USA.